Duterte’s wish: In 10 years time, OFWs will choose to stay home

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte is doing his best so Filipinos won’t have to leave and look for jobs overseas to support their families.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the appreciation dinner for House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at The Manila Hotel on July 9, 2019. (VALERIE ESCALERA / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

He said in 10 years time OFWs will be alright in the Philippines. Duterte made the remarks as he led the Araw ng Pasasalamat for OFWs in Quezon City Friday evening.

Duterte said he is not as interested in taxes as he is on job-generating projects which would entice Filipinos to work in the Philippines instead of flying overseas.

“I’m inviting investments, factories and all. Pero ang problema niyan (But the problem is), at this point, I am not interested in taxes,” he said.

“What I am interested in very much is the job generation na maibigay ng mga ano (that Filipinos will be given jobs) at this time, at this time,” he added.

The President said he hopes that in 10 years time, Filipinos will not have the option to go abroad because they have work in their own country. This is the reason why he is focusing on law and order.

“But alam mo, ang Diyos marunong eh. Give or take 10 years, mag-uwi kayo dito, ah okay na (But God is wise. Give or take 10 years, you will come home and find you’ll be okay),” he said.

“But before that, I will also cut at I would like — just like to tell you… For us to survive, for us to develop and progress, we have to have law and order,” he added.

Duterte said he is trying to get Filipino skilled workers in the Middle East back to the country because of the slow progress in the government’s infrastructure program.

“There has been a slowdown in the progress of buildings, structures kasi walang mga skills. Naubos na. Pumunta na doon sa Middle East (Because our skilled workers have all gone to the Middle East),” he said.

“So we are trying to bribe them back by giving more, a little over, higher than what they earn there. Kasi ‘yung — itong mga ganito (with this kind of project), you need a master electrician, a master carpentry, mason. Eh kailangan ito eh. Hindi ka naman pwedeng pumulot diyan tapos sabihin mo trabahuin mo ‘yan (You cannot just pick somebody out in the streets and have them work),” he added.

16,478 vacancies

To solve the shortage, Duterte is relying on the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to improve the number of Filipino skilled workers.

“Ngayon, medyo may kulang tayo sa worker (We currently lack workers). That is why I am relying on TESDA and putting my cards sa departamento ni Secretary Lapeña para (on Secretary Sid Lapeña’s agency) — to improve on that,” Duterte said.

In February this year, President Duterte admitted that his administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program is a bit behind schedule due to the lack of skilled workers.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said Duterte ordered TESDA to train more construction workers to help in the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

“Kasi, we are lacking in experts in… like in carpentry, in welding, iyong mga technical, kulang eh. Marami po tayong mga taong hindi empleyado, whether sa gobyerno o sa kumpanya, kasi hindi naman sila qualified. Lalo na iyong mga vocational, lalo na sa construction (and the technical. We have a lot of unemployed citizens but they are not qualified, especially in vocational and construction),” he said.

“Kaya sabi ni Presidente, sa TESDA, aba kailangan para magkaroon tayo ng malalim na bench ng mga karpentero, ng mga welders, mga electricians, kasi marami ang nagpuntahan sa iba’t-ibang bansa eh (That’s why the President told TESDA that we should have enough carpenters, welders, electricians because a lot of them are going overseas to work),” he added.

Based on the “Build, Build, Build” website, there are 16,478 vacancies for engineers, steelman, laborers, machine operators, and skilled electricians, among others.